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USTOA Promotes Culinary Tourism

April 26, 2011 By: George Dooley Travel Agent


African Travel offers a uniquely customizable culinary tour to South Africa. // (c) African Travel

Food and wine enthusiasts will find a growing number of vacation experiences catering to their passion, said the U.S. Tour Operators Association (USTOA).

“Our members have responded to a heightened appreciation of fine food and wine by developing programs and itineraries to some of the world’s top culinary and wine-producing destinations,” said Terry Dale, USTOA president.

Travelers can enjoy a private winery visit and dinner in the Sonoma Valley, take a cooking class using locally-sourced ingredients in South Africa, or wine and dine their way through Provence,  the USTOA noted. The organization highlighted a few of the following sample tours from its members:

San Francisco and Wine Country Delights

Oenophiles can enjoy a private winery tour and dinner at Nicholson Ranch in the Sonoma Valley on Trafalgar Tours’ seven-night San Francisco and Wine Country Delight” tour. Also featured are a private cooking class in Sonoma, wine tastings and sightseeing in San Francisco. Three nights are spent in San Francisco, with four nights in Napa Valley. Daily excursions from Napa visit the wine-growing centers of Glen Ellen, Kenwood, Calistoga, St. Helena, Yountville and Sonoma. The tour, which costs from $1,750 per person, also includes seven full breakfasts and four dinners. According to Trafalgar, the tour price represents a savings of up to 30 percent over making the same arrangements independently. Travel must be booked by May 20 and is available through Sept. 23.

For more information, contact 866-544-4434 or visit

South Africa’s Finest: A Culinary Adventure

Clients can prepare lunch with locally sourced ingredients during a Cape Malay cooking class on South Africa’s Finest: A Culinary Adventure, a nine-night custom-planned vacation from African Travel Inc. Other culinary activities include a private dining experience in Cape Town at Catherina’s under the guidance of chef Garth Almazan, a winelands tasting tour, a private bush dinner and a chef’s table experience at The Saxon in Johannesburg with chef Werner Snoek. This custom itinerary provides accommodations for three nights in Cape Town at the Steenberg Hotel and Winery, two nights in Kruger-Sabi Sands at the Sabi Bush Lodge, two nights in Kruger-Timbavati at Camp Jabuani, and two nights in Johannesburg at the Saxon Boutique Hotel and Villas. Also featured are two days of private sightseeing in Cape Town, four days of wildlife viewing by day and night from vehicles and atop elephants, a full day of private sightseeing in Johannesburg and all transfers. The tour is priced from $7,995 per person, plus $827 per person for intra-Africa flights, a savings estimated at 15 percent over booking independently. Meals include nine breakfasts, five lunches and six dinners. Travel dates are available through July 31.

For more information, contact 800-421-8907 or visit

Chateau Wine and Cooking in Provence

Avanti Destinations’ five-night Chateau Wine and Cooking in Provence independent self-drive package allows travelers to discover the epicurean side of Provence by pairing local food and wine. Clients spend three nights at Chateau de Berne in Southern Provence, then travel north to the Chateauneuf-de-Pape wine region for two nights at Chateau de Fines Roches with wine-tasting at three local cellars. A morning cooking class with lunch, a wine tour and tasting in the Var wine region, a visit to Thoronet Abbey and a welcome bottle of wine are also included. The independent package, priced from $2,655 per person, also includes a six-day compact manual car rental, daily breakfast and three dinners. Several choices for car pick-up are available, and optional extensions include Paris, Italy or the French Mediterranean shore. The package must be booked by Aug. 31 for travel available through Oct. 31.

For more information, contact 800-422-5053 or visit


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By George Dooley | April 26, 2011
USTOA members offer fine food and wine tours worldwide that cater to this growing niche market.